Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist March 2014 Contents Australian Pharmacist March 2014 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd. 27
Changes made to staff tasks and
roles increased workflow efficiencies
through review of staff roles, strict
time allocation for tasks and ongoing
reminder systems for change, resulting
in an increase in the number of
prescription items processed per
FTE per day.
An important measure of consumer
contact -- the retention score -- improved
by 21% over the course of the trial.
The team members realised that they
had all the right elements in place
to position themselves as a health
destination, but that their processes and
procedures were letting them down.
Engagement through staff meetings
gave them confidence to change and
buy in to the health destination concept.
Shared goal setting and incentives
have ensured ongoing motivation to
change. Staff recognised the importance
of ongoing review and feedback to
They also recognised that assistance
was needed from the coach to educate
pharmacists and facilitate changes in
behaviour -- a message sometimes best
received from a third party.
All staff understood better that
professional services, health promotion
and sales of health products are
interlinked, and which activities drive
success. For example, increasing
pharmacist contact with the consumer
often results in identifying opportunities
to offer further services and products.
This pharmacy did not see great
improvements to its bottom line during
the trial. However, it felt it was on track
to improved financial performance
in the months that followed. Its new
systems and processes have resulted
in greater consumer engagement and
more opportunities to provide services
and health solutions.
Refusing to sell
There was a report in the Melbourne
Age (14/2/14) in response to consumer
complaints that some pharmacists were
refusing to sell condoms, or dispensing
oral contraceptives or providing
emergency contraception based on the
religious beliefs of the pharmacist(s).
One pharmacist even indicated that he
had asked his priest if it was alright to
A Pharmacy Guild spokesperson said
that pharmacists had the right to their
personal beliefs and therefore if the
pharmacist had some sort of notification
that these services would not be
provided, that it would be acceptable.
While I totally agree that individuals
have the right to believe what they
want, I do not agree that they have the
right to impose those beliefs onto others
by NOT doing what is expected of a
I believe that those pharmacists are in
breach of the following sections of PSA's
Code of Ethics1:
1. A pharmacist recognises the health
and wellbeing of the patient as their
2. A pharmacist pays due respect for
the autonomy and rights of patients
and encourages patients to actively
participate in decision-making.
3. A pharmacist upholds the reputation
and public trust of the profession.
4. A pharmacist recognises the
professional roles in and
responsibilities to the wider
6. A pharmacist maintains a
contemporary knowledge of
pharmacy practice and ensures health
and competence to practise.
8. A pharmacist conducts the business
of pharmacy in an ethical and
Additionally, in my view, these
pharmacists are also in breach of all
four of the four principle approaches to
ethical behaviour; that is of: beneficence,
non-maleficence, autonomy and justice.2
In my view, a person who has undergone
four or five years of intensive education
and training to be a pharmacist and
whose concerns are first and foremost,
the well-being of the patient should
not impose their particular religious
dogmas upon their patients by refusing
appropriate treatment or supply.
I believe very strongly, that these
pharmacists who cannot separate their
religious beliefs from their professional
roles are practicing unethically.
The Pharmacy Board of Australia has
endorsed PSA's Code of ethics and
perhaps it is time that these practices
were looked into.
Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Monash University, Victoria
1. Code of Ethics for Pharmacists, Pharmaceutical Society of
2. Hatting L. Confronting ethical dilemmas. Aust J Pharmacy
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Letters are invited from anyone wishing to
comment on articles or issues relevant to
pharmacy. However, any letters judged by the
Editor to be potentially defamatory will not
be published. Letters should be no more than
300 words long. They can be emailed to the Editor
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